§ CIVIL DEFENCE (HOSPITAL SERVICE) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (AMBULANCE) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (SEWERAGE) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (SEWERAGE) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (BURIAL) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (BURIAL) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (EVACUATION AND CARE OF THE HOMELESS) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (EVACUATION AND CARE OF THE HOMELESS) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (WATER SUPPLIES) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (WATER SUPPLIES) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (PUBLIC PROTECTION) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (PUBLIC PROTECTION) (LONDON) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (PUBLIC PROTECTION) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (FIRE SERVICES) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ CIVIL DEFENCE (FIRE SERVICES) (SCOTLAND) REGULATIONS, 1949
§ LORD DARWEN
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend, Lord Shepherd, I beg to move that the draft Regulations, as reported from the Special Orders Committee on October 27 last, be approved.
§ Moved, That the draft Regulations, as reported from the Special Orders Committee on October 27 last, be approved.—(Lord Darwen.)
My Lords, there are one or two points I should like to 664 raise on these Regulations. From the draft of the Regulations, it appears that all of them, except the Burial Regulations and the Evacuation Regulations, provide that the local authority must comply with any "directions given by the Minister," and not act "at the request of the Minister," as occurs in some of the other Regulations. I should like to ask the noble Lord who has presented these Regulations whether there is any particular reason for this difference in the draft. I would also suggest, especially in the case of the Regulations concerning evacuation and the care of the homeless, that the Minister should have power to direct an inefficient local authority and not merely request them to carry out these Regulations.
With regard to the point that local authorities, in the case of the Evacuation Regulations, are… to take steps to ensure that such buildings and land as are determined to be reasonable for the purpose should be placed at their disposal …can the noble Lord in charge of the Regulations indicate how the Government contemplate such steps will be taken and what sort of steps they will be? I do not know whether it would be out of order to refer for a few moments to the question of recruiting for Civil Defence, which, as your Lordships know, has just been launched by the Home Secretary. I understand that industry as a whole has not been consulted about the recruiting problem. I would suggest that that is a grave mistake. In fact, I understand that certain large concerns have advised their employees not to enrol themselves locally in Civil Defence work. I suggest that such difficulties ought to be and could have been ironed out if industry had been taken into the confidence of the Government before the recruiting drive had, in fact, commenced.
Certain elements in another place have argued that these Civil Defence Regulations are of little value in view of the possibility of atomic bombing. I suggest that that is quite untrue and contrary to the facts. It may not be generally known that if an atomic bomb bursts at 2,000 feet, there is practically no radioactive contamination. It would have to burst at something like 500 feet or on the ground to create serious radio-active contamination for any length of time, 665 and when burst at that low level, the area of damage would be greatly reduced. I do not wish to minimise the precautions which should be taken against atomic warfare, but I think we should be most careful to view the whole matter in proper perspective. I understand it also to be a fact that the effect of an atomic bomb is greatly reduced when dropped in comparatively shallow water, as it exists round our ports. Our ships in fact can now be decontaminated, and instruments are available to minimise the density of radiation. I believe it is true that the ordinary respirator is quite good enough to keep out the very dangerous radio-active dust which arises from an atomic explosion.
I mention these facts to assure your Lordships that these Regulations are not by any means valueless, and that a considerable advance has taken place in the means of diminishing the effect of atomic warfare. We certainly accept these Regulations and hope that local authorities will waste no time in getting their organisations together. But I hope His Majesty's Government will bear in mind the point about consulting industry as soon as possible, because I believe that that has not been done at all.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.